LEICESTER have pulled off arguably the biggest signing in their history with the arrival of Australian Grand Prix star Max Fricke as their new No.1.

The 26-year-old joins the Watling JCB Lions on loan from Belle Vue after being part of the Aces squad which won the Premiership title last month.

Fricke enjoyed some massive high points in 2022, including victory for his country in the FIM Speedway of Nations, and he also won the second round of the GP series in front of a crowd of over 50,000 at Warsaw.

His season ended a month early as he was injured in a Polish play-off semi-final crash at Zielona Gora, but after a winter of recuperation he will be fully fit for the new season.

And his arrival at the Paul Chapman & Sons Arena gives the Lions exactly what they require as they step up to the Premiership – a rider who is firmly established as a No.1 at the top level.

Co-promoter Stewart Dickson said: “There’s absolutely no doubt that Max is a big marquee signing for Leicester, and we’re delighted to bring him to the club.

“It’s great to get him on board and I think it shows a real ambition and statement of intent that we aim to compete in this league this time around.

“We were absolutely determined to land a rider of his calibre, and the fact that it was Leicester he wanted to come to as soon as he knew he wouldn’t be at Belle Vue was good for us to hear too.

“He’s already a World-class rider but I also feel at the age 26, Max’s best years are still ahead of him. Generally nowadays riders take longer to peak, you don’t tend to see World Champions at the age of 22, and we’re going to get a rider who is very hungry to achieve even more.

“I’ve also got to say well done to the Bates family for getting him, which proves once again that they’re treating the Leicester team just as seriously as they are with Sheffield.

“I never had any problems or doubts about that because they’ve always backed me in the three seasons that I’ve been here, when we finished top, third and top in the Championship, but I know that now we’re back in the same league there are always going to be comparisons made.

“I must also mention Max’s manager Thomas Gaszynski, our dealings have been very professional and I look forward to working with them next season.”

Fricke joins hugely popular GB star Chris Harris as confirmed names on the Lions’ team-sheet for 2023, with more news to follow in the near future.

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